I believe passionately that what you allow your eyes to see can quite seriously impact your health. Art shapes our culture partly because it is ever present. You don't have to focus on it to feel its effects.
Put simply: your eyes allow things to enter into your body, through your mind and subconscious state, before you have a chance to prepare yourself to receive them.
What do I mean?
Well, think of a traumatic event, such as witnessing a traffic accident. Often a witness will suffer shock. This is because you saw something before you were able to prepare yourself for it. Or perhaps you saw something that was upsetting that you would rather not have looked at.
You have been impacted by the visual and you've had no control over the initial effect it has had on you. The fact that you weren't directly involved in the accident is irrelevant. You can physically walk away from the scene but your eyes have allowed something to enter you.
It's the same principle if you see a thing of beauty. In contrast though, the impact of beauty on the beholder is invariably positive. It brings hope, joy and light. It improves your experience of life. It is good for you.
It's no coincidence that so much art from the 20th century was designed to shock. Although somewhat tired now, it's a theme that is still pursued by many contemporary artists. Shocking somebody is easy.
Inspiring the viewer is a totally different task.
So imagine if you saw that traffic accident scene every day. Yes, with time you'd become desensitised to much of it. However the effect on your mental health would be palpable and not in a positive way.
Try subjecting yourself to beauty, hope and Light every day and the positive effects on your health would be very real. I base this on my own experience and the feedback that I receive from people who own my art. If something brings you joy when you look at it, you are going to receive something from it that you cannot receive from a work that centres on negativity.
It is my personal opinion that a large amount of the art that we see today has been put on display when perhaps its main strengths are not suited to the public arena. Artists (quite understandably) use their skills and gifts to work through personal problems. But they're personal problems. Showing pain, darkness, and most notably: confusion, to the public is only going to minister to and provoke a similar emotion from the viewer.
Showing Light to the viewer will bring hope, joy and that all elusive feeling: peace. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. So it's logical to conclude that hope received is good for the heart and good for the health.
The goal of my art is to bring both Light and hope to the viewer, aiding mental and physical wellbeing as a result. It's not a fashionable goal in the art world at present. But few fashions last forever.